Food-Related Fads from Japan, from Spa Theme Parks to Gelatinous Fanta
If you've ever fantasized of loafing in a pool of wine, visit Hakone, Japan and your dream can become reality. Food-themed spas are just one of the trends listed in Adage.com's feature on Japan's latest could-be trends, from ramen-noodle baths to self-cleaning toilets (Madonna is a fan).
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, a spa theme park in Hakone with a menu of "amusement baths," is your spot for that wine bath. Not feeling wine? Perhaps you would prefer a soak in green-tea, coffee, or sake.
I'd go for a ramen-noodle bath, myself, which is shaped and outfitted like a ramen bowl. Chopsticks and noodle decorations hang over the hot tub; the pepper-flavored water is flecked with skin-healthy collagen and garlic extracts; and, best of all, "a man dressed as a chef dispenses noodle-shaped bath additives" and soy sauce into the water.
After your bath, perhaps you will be craving a little caffeine and coquetry. Have you heard of Tokyo's maid bars, where women clad in full French maid regalia serve men coffee? For women, there are also butler bars, cafes where young, uniformed men serve middle-aged female customers.
Also, Coca-Cola is testing a new Fanta drink in Japan that starts out as a gelatinous substance and transforms into a fizzy liquid upon shaking.
On the miracle-fruit front, acerola, also known as Barbados cherry or wild crape myrtle, is being touted as Japan's cure-all of the moment. The tropical fruit comes from the Caribbean, brimming with vitamin C and bioflavanoids, and has found its way into Japanese flavored waters, yogurts, jams, herbal cold remedies and chewing gum.
Are any of these things destined for our shores? I can see acerola popping up in fancy drinks, but envisioning water parks flowing with soup is a bit of a stretch.